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Lesson One: Expectations
Lesson Two: Am I Ready?
Lesson 3: Time Management
Lesson 4 Online Discussions
Lesson 5: Plagiarism
Lesson 6: Ergonomics
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 Online Learning Success:
  Lesson One: Expectations
     Written by Gayle L. Fornataro, Virtual Valley Student Success Coordinator

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Lesson 1: Expectations

  The topics covered in this lesson are as follows:

 1.1 What Can I Expect From My Online Classes?
 1.2 What Will Be Expected of Me?
 1.3 What Can I Expect from My Instructor?
 1.4 Can I Work at My Own Pace?
 1.5 Keys to Success


Lesson 1: Expectations
1.1: What Can Expect from My Online Classes

First of all, expect to feel lost! This is perfectly normal in a new online environment, especially if  you are new to the Internet.  Don’t panic.  Slow down and see if you can get your bearings.  Look for announcements on  your course homepage that might give you information about how to proceed.

If you can’t figure out what you are supposed to do or where you are supposed to be in cyberspace,  don’t hesitate to send an email or call your instructor for help. 

Post a question to the Virtual Valley Online Learning Student Users Group Forum.  This message center is always open to you, and it is available from any computer -- you do not have to be registered as an ETUDES user or logged to the ETUDES website to access it.  Questions posted to this site will be answered in 24-48 hours.

Second, expect to work as hard, or even harder, than in traditional face-to-face classes.  Like more traditional classes, online classes can provide valuable learning experiences, but only if you put in the time to fully participate and succeed.  Because online classes are student-centered, a lot depends on your participation. 

You will need to spend an average of 10 to 15 hours a week on each online class.  Remember: when you take a regular class, you usually spend 3 hours a week in class, and 6-9 hours a week outside of class on homework.  All these hours are spent online in ETUDES classes.

Third, you can expect to make friends and have fun!  Online classes are dynamic and challenging.  While this is serious education and not all fun and games, online classes are engaging.  Because everyone must post messages in an online class, you can get to know your teacher and classmates – sometimes even better than you do in a traditional classroom.  To get the most from your online experience, participate frequently and meaningfully in the online community your ETUDES class makes possible. 

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Lesson 1: Expectations
1.2: What will be expected of me?

First, you will be expected to log into your class frequently – every day during the week and perhaps once over the weekend as well.  Online classes are structured differently from face-to-face classes.   Since they do not meet once or twice a week, the only way you will feel like a part of the class, learn, and keep up with new assignments is to check in frequently.

Second, you will be expected to meet assignment deadlines.  It is important to realize that, though the hours are unstructured in an online class, there are deadlines for assignments.  You cannot wait until the end of the semester to hand everything in. 

An online class is an electronic community of learners.  You may be asked to engage in group work and class discussions by a particular date and time.  Although online classes give you the flexibility to do your work at the time of day you want, it is every bit as important to keep pace with the class as in a traditional class.  If you are required to work in groups, you will be letting your group down if you don’t post your work for the other members in a timely manner.

    Bright Idea! The number one rule of success is that you
       must check in to your ETUDES class website frequently for new
       assignments and announcements. 

Third, you will be expected to submit your work on time despite whatever technical difficulties you may have.  This means that, first, you need to make sure that you have the proper equipment before you begin the class.  Be sure to check the technical requirements and make sure that you have the proper computer, that you have a supported browser, and that you have reliable Internet access. Though it is not absolutely necessary to have a computer and Internet access at home, if you don’t, you are really taking away the chief advantage of the online class format – schedule convenience.

However, even the best computers crash, get viruses, or otherwise malfunction, and sometimes Internet Service Providers fail.  Technical difficulty is not an excuse not to get your work done on time.  Therefore, you need to develop a “plan B” for how you will submit work in the event of computer problems.  There are aver twenty computer labs at LAVC, and all public libraries have free computers for patrons to use as well.  Friends and family may also be a resource in the event of an emergency such as this. 

    Bright Idea! Before you begin your class, ask yourself what
       you will do if your equipment fails right before a deadline.

Since there are sometimes technical difficulties, you should not procrastinate in completing your assignments.  You need to give yourself enough time to make other arrangements in case something goes wrong.  This is your responsibility as a student in an online class.  You must be self-motivated and self reliant to a greater extent than in a face-to-face class.  If you do not feel that you can do this, then you should reconsider whether or not online classes are right for you.

    Bright Idea! If you have a technical difficulty of any kind, ask
       for help immediately. Some technical problems can take a day or
       more to fix. If you wait until the last minute to ask for help, you
       may get behind in your work.

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Lesson 1: Expectations
1.3 What Can I Expect from My Instructor?

You can expect the same things from your online instructor as you can from any instructor you have.

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Lesson 1: Expectations
1.4 Can I Work at My Own Pace?

Yes and no.  You may do your work at whatever time of day or night you want – at noon, midnight, 4am, or whenever you have the time.  This is the chief advantage of taking a class online and makes online classes especially good for working adults.

However, you will have deadlines to meet on at least a weekly basis.  An online class is not an independent study environment.  You are part of a community of learners and you need to keep pace with the class and submit assignments or participate in online discussions on a schedule set by your instructor. 

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Lesson 1: Expectations
1.5: Keys to Success    


      Always check the “System Requirements” on the ETUDES home
             page to make sure you have the proper equipment to use the
             online class software.

      Develop a “Plan B” in case you have computer equipment
             problems or other technical problems in the middle of an
             online class.

      Log in to your online class website everyday to check for new
             announcements or assignments.

     Read all instructions completely and carefully. This may be the
            most improtant key to success of all!

      Don't Procrastinate!

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